John Carter

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John Carter

Post by Gadreille on Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:31 am

On Saturday I read A Princess of Mars, a 323 page novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs published in 1917 (I was actually reading a 95 year old first edition copy, how awesome is that?). It's a wonderful book and a must read for any sci fi lover, keeping in mind of course the era that it was written. This series was my father's favorite as a kid, and I'm hoping to read all eleven books of the series.

Anyway, I read it all in one day so that I would know what was going on when I went to see John Carter, a Disney film based off of A Princess of Mars (I hope everyone who goes to see that movie realizes that, for it makes it a much more special movie). While there were quite a few changes (some of which might be explained in later novels, alas I have only read the first one) and of course the standard Disney quirks, I thought that the movie did rather well portraying the essence of A Princess of Mars.

Has anyone else read these books? Seen the movie?
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Re: John Carter

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:30 pm

All I've seen is a trailer for the movie. Looked like it had potential.
Is it good? Very Happy
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Re: John Carter

Post by Gadreille on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:44 pm

It's good, but in terms of seeing the movie just for the movie, I'd ask Ysopet, as he hasn't read the book. Otherwise, I highly suggest reading A Princess of Mars first, for I very much enjoyed the movie after having read the book.
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Re: John Carter

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:57 pm

So it's a great book, eh?
Hmm, we should do one of those book clubs on it. xD
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Re: John Carter

Post by Gadreille on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:10 pm

Great idea! I already posted in the Book Club thread Smile
I thought the book was a great hero story and it's the earliest science fiction novel I've ever read. I very much enjoyed it.
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Re: John Carter

Post by Icipher on Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:30 pm

... I am so envious of you, Gadreille! A 95 year old first edition!? That is awesome!!! Hehe

Anyway. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I plan to. Sadly I've not read the Princess of Mars book. My old man is supposed to have it, but he couldn't find it unfortunately. So instead of I'm currently reading Fighting Man of Mars, which he was able to find. Enjoying it so far and look forward to reading the others by Burroughs and seeing the film. Smile
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Re: John Carter

Post by Gadreille on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:55 pm

Ahh, book seven! My dad used to have the entire series, but he's missing his paperback copy of the first one, so I had to read the fancy copy. He's also missing the second...but he has the rest...I think. Haha. Anyway, I'm glad you are enjoying the book you have! I hope you enjoy the movie as well. Again, I don't hate disney or anything, I in fact appreciate them bringing sci fi to a wider audience, but you do just have to roll with it sometimes Smile
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Re: John Carter

Post by Icipher on Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:07 am

Hehe. Agreed on the Disney part. From what I've read of this one so far, I do want to find the rest of the series. A pain to find though, at least around here. I imagine it will come into reprint here due to the movie but... I'd much rather find the older versions for that art work... >.>

And thanks! Smile
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Re: John Carter

Post by Moon Ray on Wed May 09, 2012 2:14 pm

I'm a huge Burroughs fan. That was a dude who knew how to write science fiction adventures. Of course I loved Princess of Mars, and I always enjoy rereading it. (I have a raggedy copy that fits comfortably in a cargo pocket.)

But, like his other series, I found I didn't enjoy the entire rest of the Barsoom series quite as much. Gods, and Warlord of Mars were okay. And I'm not really knocking the other books as standalone pieces. But Burroughs has a way of milking a good concept that sort of waters it down. His approach is a little formulaic and detracting, I think. (Or maybe I'm just bitter that my favorite characters never got much more than a cameo as the series went on.)

In any case, while I like Tarzan Of The Apes better than any of his other single books, I liked the Barsoom books better than any of his other series.

As far as the new John Carter movie goes, I loved it. It did a good job of sticking to the book. I remember liking the Princess of Mars movie when it came out awhile back, because it hit my low-budget, poorly-written, sci-fi love button. But it wasn't a good representation of the book.

Although...
Spoiler:
This isn't much of a spoiler, but...

Doesn't it bother anyone else that the way the story is framed by Edgar at his uncle's funeral, reading his uncle's journal, it takes away almost all the tension from the story?

John Carter is seemingly transported to Mars. Will he ever return to Earth? Will he survive his various battles? Will he marry the princess and have a hundred martian babies?

Well, duh. We already know he comes back to earth, lived a long life with no wife, and died safely there. The last twist of Will he return to Mars? is only introduced right at the end, and answered almost immediately.

Not that anyone who's at all savvy with the way these movies end, should be surprised anyway. It just kind of bugged me.
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Re: John Carter

Post by Gadreille on Thu May 10, 2012 10:31 am

Spoiler:
I guess I just focused less on "Will he?" and more on "How will he?"

I haven't yet read Tarzan, but I did wonder how the series could be so friggin huge! I guess back then, when there was so much room in the fields of fantasy and sci fi, one could milk it 'til the cow ran dry.

I am hoping to read the entire Barsoom series, but I haven't had much reading time. It'll be done someday, I owe it to my dad to finish them!
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Re: John Carter

Post by Moon Ray on Thu May 10, 2012 6:27 pm

If your dad collected 100 year old first edition copies of the whole series, I believe you do owe it to him. I'd be willing to owe him too.

And you should read Tarzan. If you're seen any of the three million movies, cartoons and kids books based on it, I don't think there's anything much that will surprise you about the story. Unless it's that, without all the embellishments of the other versions, the original seems a little sparse. But I like to see the original, intended themes. Like how the notion of an English gentleman was considered to be something genetic, and how evolution made Kala an ideal mother for a baby human. How being a gentleman savage made him fundamentally different from the native savages or pirates and the like. And, weirdly, how Tarzan's savage upbringing was somehow passed on to his son genetically.

I think if John Carter had been a noble in the beginning instead of an American frontiersman, he might have been a little more interesting. (Or he could have been native american. Or a soldier.) The battles on Barsoom were too close to the battles between the native americans and colonists. I mean, it's a cute parallel, but it didn't present much of a challenge to John Carter when he arrived. He took the same exact stance in Mars as he took in the conflict in America. He didn't really even change his position over time.

I did like that the Green people on Barsoom and the Red people were equally alien in the book. It's not so obvious in the movie, except by the way that John interacts with them. He was as cool with Tars Tarkas and Sola from the beginning as he was with the Red Martians. He always had his own thing going on. The same way he considered both the native americans and the united states citizens "other" on Earth.

They gave Dejah Thoris those tattoo-looking decorations, but I think if you went in without the book, any audience member would have easily identified the Red people as "human."
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Re: John Carter

Post by Lumeus on Sun May 13, 2012 1:22 am

I haven't read the book, but I really enjoyed the movie, which I wasn't expecting because their marking campaign was just abysmal. And I was really sad to see the movie die so miserably in theaters.

John Carter grossed just under $71,000,000 in domestic sales. It cost an estimated $250,000,000 to make it. That is disastrous. It was so bad that Disney's Chairman, Rich Ross, who worked for Disney for 15 years, was fired.
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Re: John Carter

Post by Moon Ray on Sun May 13, 2012 9:54 pm

I'm so used to the movies and TV shows that I love being horribly under-appreciated, that I barely even notice anymore. I've just come to believe the general masses have butts for heads. ...Although I suppose you have to give some fair credit to the marketing departments.

I mean, I'm not dumb. Even I can see that the movie, John Carter, was rather deficient in acting and the story's emotional journey was loaded down by moron rocks in everyone's pockets (seriously, the relationship between John and Sola was not designed to make an audience member happy. And on that note, Happy Mother's Day.), but on a whole, the movie was cool. It stuck to a well-loved book; it gave us a rare sci-fi-genre film; the special effects were solid; that dog-nanny creature was funny; there was nothing horribly jarring or distracting in the execution of the movie... I rate it well above the last three Spiderman movies, Episodes II and III of Starwars, and maybe even some of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I'll certainly rewatch it many more times than I will Avatar. And yet? How unfair is the world?

I didn't know anyone had lost their job over it, which I suppose makes sense even while terribly stupid and sad. But then, isn't it almost tradition that artists will be overlooked in their own time? (...not that I'm sure I'd call John Carter art.)
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Re: John Carter

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